34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The daddy gets a face lift,
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Xbox) (Video Game)
Well here it is. Finally the BIG game of the PS2 arrives on the Xbox. No doubt you already know the quality of this game, its worthy of bypassing all reviews instantly and heading straight up to the 'Buy' button. I've already played through, completed and reviewed this once on the PS2! Yet I have instantly rushed out to grab this Xbox version to once again relive the San Andreas experience. What can I say? From the moment the game opens up its like seeing San Andreas through a rather sharp and expensive pair of glasses as opposed to the slightly more value brand that you use to view the PS2 version through. The state is rendered oh so more crisply with sharper graphics, more detailed textures, absolutely fantastic! Everything from the orange haze of Los Santos to the foggy streets of San Fierro to the purple night times of the Las Venturas desert look absolutely stunning. You also get the bonus of proper Dolby Digital 5.1 sound as opposed to Dolby Pro Logic II. Also the Xbox hard drive shows its genius as you can get your own spooled soundtrack pumped into the game alongside the very hip hop biased main radio stations. Everything points towards making San Andreas a fuller experience for the senses.
Beyond that, the core excellence of the game is intact. If you think of Vice City giving you a playground to have your fun in, San Andreas gives you Alton Towers. Drift away from the quality Boys In The Hood storyline to experience a few side games and you'll find that they're much more fleshed out and involving. Take the car missions like Taxi Driver. Its gone from being a fair old 30 second dash around the city to a game with speed bonuses for delivery, necessity to repair the taxi when it gets a bit pranged etc. Rather than taking 5 minutes out for a quick jaunt on this I've found myself dedicating a whole hour to ferrying people around Los Santas. This applies right across the board, you'll find basket ball to play, pool, Dance Dance Revolution style rhythm games, street races... the list goes on. This all set in the massiveness that is San Andreas.
Quality has been extended to the fighting controls with a much more accomplished auto aim method. Of course it still isn't perfect, I still find I get the odd bizarre occasion of CJ running around blindly firing in the air, but its certainly less frustrating than in the previous games. The Xbox conversion brings with it its own new problems, namely being the lack of analogue buttons aside from the shoulder triggers. This means that all driving has to be done with the shoulder buttons, something totally alien when you approach the game from a perspective of the PS2s X button being the main action/drive button. Also the naff old black/white buttons make it a touch difficult to view backwards in a car/select targets to shoot at without having a right hand with 20 fingers. Also inherited from the PS2 version is the games insistence to draw textures right in front of you, thankfully less criminal than in the PS2 version.
Of course the games catalogue of faults are well known to all, but the sheer ambition and quality of the entire package bring with it a host of Pros that overwhelm the Cons from the first moment you play. Like an old friend, a favourite of the house, you learn to forgive the faults and enjoy the good times.